While the job description offers employees the list of activities and tasks to do their job – the WHAT of their job – company culture outlines the HOW a job is done.

Is it done with a smile? Putting the customer first? Treating co-workers with respect and dignity?

Culture, whether you consciously work at it or not, is a filter that helps you attract and retain the right people.

The culture of your organization guides employees to be successful at your company. The primary ingredient in your brand is your culture.

Whether you have worked at it or not, your company has a culture. The written and unwritten ways people act and behave when they do their jobs.

When someone belongs, fits, or is a culture fit – that indicates that they meet the particular ways and means you get things done.

By paying attention to those who are currently successful in your company – how they act, work, and behave – you can get a good sense of the required traits for someone new to be successful.

Throughout the rest of this guide, we’ll be referring to your Culture – that filter – that helps ensure you’re attracting and keeping the best people.


What if we don’t have a culture?

Well, you *do* have a culture… it just may not be documented and actively promoted.


Your mission is your ultimate big picture goal. (Beyond making money). Do you want to bring the world the tastiest burger? Do you want every stereo buyer to own their perfect system? Is it a more relaxed and calm community (thanks to your spa massages)?


Your values are the way you do business. The way you act and behave to customers and employees. Are you nice or mean? Are you stingy or generous? Do you have rigid rules or flexibilitly with your policies? Are you formal or casual?

We plan to create a Guide about documenting and cultivating your culture – specifically identifying values. Until then, use the questions below to help document or identify your values. Write down your responses and use them to hire the right people – bringing people into your company that match your answers.

  • How much respect do we give to customers and employees? Is that a word we use with our staff or customers?
  • What do we consider respectful and fair behavior toward our employees and customers? How do we want our customers and employees to treat us (leadership)?
  • What do we want it to be?
  • How much do you trust your employees? How much trust do you put in them?
  • Do people/customers trust your company? Do they trust your employees?
  • How important is “doing the right thing” to operating your business: service, taxes, buying environmentally friendly products, etc.
  • What do we want it to be?
  • How much does what you do as a business change? Have you been fairly fixed doing what you’ve done for years?
  • How much do you respond to fads (short-term) and trends (long-term)?
  • What do we want it to be?
Results Orientation
  • How important is the result? Do you care much “how” you make your sales goals – as long as you make them? Is it okay?
  • What do we want it to be?
  • Is everyone from the CEO to the part-time employee expected to pick-up trash outside on your sidewalk?
  • What do we want our teamwork philosophy to be?
Employee Engagement
  • How committed are your employees to you, your location, your brand?
  • How committed are you to your employees?
  • What do we want employee engagement to be?
  • Does the leadership team accept responsibility when things go wrong? Do we attribute it to the in-store employee who made the error?
  • What do we want responsibility and accountability to be?
Learning Opportunities
  • Do we offer training or want employees to be pre-trained?
  • Do we offer additional growth opportunity, or is that something the employee seeks on their own?
  • Do we offer tuition reimbursement?
  • What do we want learning opportunities to be?
  • What is our mission?
  • What do we provide our customers and the world that is meaningful?
  • What purpose do we serve for our customers? Employee? Community? Industry?
  • What approach do we take to documenting and living our meaning/purpose?
  • What’s our communication style between leadership and employees? Between the company and customers? Between staff and customers?
  • What do we want our Communication style to be?
Decision Making
  • What is our process for making decisions? Does our leadership team figure it out? Do we include customers? Employees?
  • What do we want our Decision Making process to be?
  • How much to we strategize and set goals for the long term versus implement what we need for the present?
  • What do we want our Goal/Strategy approach to be?

Value List, Source: DecisionWise Blog

If you’re not sure what your culture is… if it is good or bad… think about the following questions. Ask your employees what they think.

  • Do you have a written, known company mission and core values?
  • Do you run your business using the mission and values?
  • Do your employees feel trusted? Do they trust leadership?
  • Is it okay for employees to make mistakes?
  • Does the leadership team make decisions among themselves? Or is employee feedback and employee vote part of the decision-making process?
  • Are there rewards in place – beyond paycheck and bonus – to recognize and show appreciation for your employees?

The best situation is a company that knows the importance of culture and actively works to sustain and grow that culture.

Next, we’ll talk about where to find the right people.